There are many, many things you can do to promote a book and the Internet is full of helpful suggestions. I tried to take them all. I DO want to sell books, you know? Taking all the advice from ALL the sources can be a tad overwhelming though, so I tried to break it down into manageable chunks and started slowly promoting even while the final edits were being made, all the way steadily through pre-order time and then planned to promote heavily right around the actual release date.
As a writer, I REALLY really wanted to see "behind-the-veil" into other writer's processes and there aren't a whole lot of bare bones articles telling exactly what authors do in the privacy of their writing shells, so I have been trying to share a bit of mine. My hope is that other first-time authors might feel a bit of camaraderie, commiseration and perhaps even a bit of inspiration via my process. (You can see all the behind-the-book posts HERE.)
Today's post is all about the promotion, but it is not a clean and easy process. It is a matter of whittling down ALL the ideas into the ones that will work for you, your book and your audience. I started by collecting every bit of advice I could and simply writing it into a notepad doc. Page after page of good advice. Some of it just wasn't going to work for me though (like the AMA subreddit....just wasn't a fit for a nature crafting book, but perfect for a popular fictional series). In any case, I would highlight various ideas in chunks via color and try to accomplish them within set amounts of time (i.e. all the blue ideas were for Oct-Nov-Dec of 2015). I have left all the numbering (from other people's numbered lists of ideas), all the notes I made and this is the bare bones document I went off of the entire time. If you were curious how a writer's (at least THIS writer's) brain works -- dive right in :)
OCT - NOV-DEC
24. Free printable pdf with "grow" quotes? Make especially for kids, lunchbox printables about vegetables and plants -- jokes and DID YOU KNOWs from the book.
17. Participate in an AMA Subreddit on Reddit.com.
Slideshare may be one of the most underestimated sources of content on the web. Things can quickly go viral on Slideshare and reach a big audience.
The slideshow/powerpoint/keynote format enables you to really tell the story about your book in visually appealing ways. You can easily break it down into parts and highlight the most thought-provoking aspects of your book.
Don’t skimp on design here and never use bullet points. I’ll repeat: never use bullet points.
Memorize: 6. “What’s your book about?” Growing your own Craft Pantry How to gather free craft materials from the woods, the grocery story, the garden and 50+ tutorials on what to do with them once you've got them.
MARCH 1. Write a book launch post on your blog - bulleted chapters (which plants/sections), why they should buy/read, links to preorder and video trailer?
MARCH 2. Email List -- (3 separate mailings closer to release date, maybe Christmas?) Need Cheaper Craft Supplies? I did too, so I took a walk in the woods. , so I raided my pantry. ...so I reinvestigated the garden.
Sent first email with "behind the book" post and why to preorder
MARCH or FEB 3. Popsugar posts a few weeks before -- link to heavily. The next week start posting tutorials heavily with links to pre-order and then release. Keep running tutorial heavy posts through release date to keep sales high.
Jelly Tasting Bar
Rose Soap Squares
DONE - JANUARY/FEB 4. Send blogger review kits (with book, fabric, seed and stationary samples) and have them host a giveaway. Bought Vista Print Cards, Labels for this:
-- Cut Swatches of Tomato Pincushion fabric bleached and not
-- Muslin Bag of lavender, hibiscus or rose
-- Muslin Bag of stonecrest acorns and/or pinecones or citrus (with note)
-- Muslin Bag of "Please choose 1 of these cards to help promote Crafting With Nature" and postcard
JANUARY 5. Try to get a sponsor for kits of one of the book projects. Have bloggers participate and run giveaways. Peg People?
DONE 7. Book landing page: CraftingWithNature.com
- Describe the benefits of reading the book. (free craft materials! grow it yourself!)
- Link to places where people can buy the book.
- Show testimonials and endorsements of the book.
- Links to supplemental resources for the book...tutorials that were cut on popsugar and blog
- Provide the opportunity to read a sample chapter and the table of contents.
- Provide the opportunity to sign-up for an email list to receive more information about the book.
Probably no video trailer?? Maybe February?? 18. The best video book trailers I have seen:
- Tell a story rather than sell a book...The life cycle of a Crafting Coconut
- Have a clear call to action (a link to the book website, the author’s website, a suggestion to search for it on Amazon, a launch date, etc.)
- Look professional - clean and simple
- Have background music like movie trailers
TUTORIAL VIDEOS: For all tutorials that have a long step-by-step process use all the outtakes to the same music...start with a catchphrase like : Grow Potatoes ::: Make Potato Candy -- just show the steps with no instructions. Last slide for this recipe and 100 other craft ideas, tutorials and recipes from plants you grow and gather, buy Crafting from Nature HERE.
Another author says:
In 2011 I experimented with a video book trailer for a book I contributed to and edited. In short, I used my iPhone to record the voices of some of the other contributors, edited the recordings in Audacity, purchased some background music from Pond5, and threw it all together using an old version of iMovie. The results were over 1,000 views, hundreds of email sign-ups, and multiple sales on the back-end of the email list.
DONE GET THE BIG FISH FIRST. I made a target list of thirty potential endorsers. I first went to the one I thought was most likely to endorse the book. He gave me a fabulous endorsement.
Then I included his endorsement in my next e-mail and rolled it out to the next four prospects. Then I rolled it out to the final twenty-five people.'
DONE 20. Set up an Amazon Author Central account and optimize your author page.
MARCH 21. Run a week of Author Profiles, Featured Blog Posts and Book Sales on Looksi -- same for Bite, leading up to release day
DONE 22. Set up a Goodreads author account and optimize your author page.
MARCH/APRIL 23. Make top of page boxes link to book related tutorials (Popsugar and on Nest)
DONE - JANUARY/FEB 29. Ask for reviews from friends and influencers before the launch. (blogger kits) Ask for Amazon reviews to be posted on the day of launch? Gather up a group of bloggers and friends to save their Amazon reviews until the day your book is released and post them on launch day. Amazon doesn’t like reviews for books that aren’t technically for sale yet. If you’ve sent review copies, ask for an Amazon review but make sure they wait until the week of the launch.
FEB/MARCH Sell as a Crafting with Nature Kit with signed book?
-- Add peg people? heirloom seeds?
DONE - Offer signed books through website as well as bookplates for special events.preorders.
DONE - APRIL 33. Host a book launch party or other book launch event. Cassie's Antique Barn Sweet Clover with Jan -- crafting day and book release party -- offer a free book every hour?
DONE - ABC Good Day PA????
So you see...the process is messy. It is cluttered and full of ideas, some great, some not so much. Without this mess though, the process of whittling ideas down into doable, actionable, promotional ideas would not have happened, so I guess the moral of the story is that anything worth doing takes a bit of mess to be done thoroughly. Whether it is getting your hands dirty in the garden, getting paint splattered from the tip of your nose to the tip of your toes or just wading through book promotion ideas -- getting a bit messy can be a good thing :) Happy writing!